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The term “Web3” refers to the “next stage” of the internet, which, it’s anticipated, will be grounded in blockchain technology. Of all the Web3 terms out there, perhaps none is so important or pervasive as “decentralization.” While crypto is on the forefront of the movement, some in the tech industry believe that decentralization is an inevitable evolutionary step for the internet that will affect businesses across industries.

In addition to serving as cryptographically secured transactions ledgers, blockchains can store self-executable code, thus enabling a “decentralized” internet—Web3—not dominated by a central authority or large companies. Proponents say Web3 will put more control over their data in the hands of users themselves.

Whether or not the most ambitious predictions about Web3 and decentralization come to fruition, it would be wise for businesses to keep an eye on developments and take steps to prepare for what may come. Here, 11 members of Forbes Technology Council share some actions company leaders across industries can take now to be ready for the next phase of the internet.

1. Ensure Secure, Robust Access For Users

Decentralization is about coordination. With Web3, information is being democratized and decentralized. At the same time, Web3 will require advanced security capabilities to ensure secure access to apps from anywhere and everywhere, as well as the right type of connectivity. Supporting the user experience through computational power and cloud computing will be key pieces of the next phase of the Web. – Prashant Tripathi, Cisco

2. Keep An Eye On DeFi

Prepare for decentralization by watching how early innovations impact other industries before they impact your own. Today, those industries are largely in finance and are classed under the umbrella term “decentralized finance,” or “DeFi.” For example, most states run lotteries to fund public projects. But now players can join DeFi lotteries where they never lose the money they put in; the prize is generated by collective interest. – Jon Hall, Switchbird


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3. Look For New Opportunities To Do Good

There’s tremendous momentum behind the Web3 shift, which is tilting the balance of power from centralized corporations and authorities to individuals who are being given a greater sense of ownership and control. Leaders should now ask, “How do I help Web3 become something for good?” As Web3 shifts to reality, businesses must support the development of a new world that’s rich and useful for citizens. – Jeff Wong, EY

4. Get Ready For Trust Through Cryptography, Not Infrastructure

We must accept the fact that people will not manage their own servers, which means we need to develop systems that can distribute trust without the need to distribute infrastructure. This means building an architecture that anticipates and accepts the inevitability of a relatively centralized client/server relationship but uses cryptography, not infrastructure, to distribute trust. – Vasily Voropaev, Smartbrain.io

5. Plan To Invest In Edge Computing

Decentralization and Web3 require recognizing that our existing infrastructure was designed for centralized data/applications with clouds and data centers. This new model will require planning and investing in edge computing and peer-to-peer, private, guaranteed delivery so that the new data models and applications can deliver their value without poor performance. – Ali Shaikh, Graphiant

6. Be Prepared To Embrace Automation

One of the challenges of decentralization is keeping track of everything. There are many routine operations that can be automated with no drawbacks, such as recurrent financial operations and even some of your task-management actions. By automating recurrent and everyday processes, you can ensure that they’re taken care of and that nothing gets overlooked. – Nacho De Marco, BairesDev

7. Adopt Multicloud

Taking a multicloud approach to storage is one of the things every company needs to start considering. Multicloud enables intelligent resourcing, and it also sets you up to satisfy data residency requirements. By leveraging multicloud and data virtualization, you’ll be able to access data from different regions without exporting it into a new environment. – Lewis Wynne-Jones, ThinkData Works

8. Evaluate Your Cybersecurity Threat Profile

As the shift to Web3 occurs, new approaches will be necessary for cybersecurity at the edge and across new, tightly integrated content platforms such as the metaverse. Hyper-automated, AI/ML-enabled zero-trust architectures that can take advantage of quantum computing architectures will help future-proof your move to Web3. Start early on evaluating your cybersecurity threat profile and options. – John Walsh, Red Summit

9. Make Sure Your Team Understands Decentralization

The most important thing to do is to provide your team with solid reasons why decentralization makes sense. For example, if your team understands privacy and the legislation around it, they will be better at identifying—and more willing to create repositories for—personally identifiable data versus data that is simply aggregated and not linked to an individual. Understanding is key to success. – Blair Currie, Snibble Corp.

10. Learn The Disadvantages

Factor in the disadvantages and think of ways to mitigate them. Be prepared for the fact that 100% decentralization is difficult to achieve and often comes at the cost of speed. An ideal smart contract doesn’t exist, and bugs in smart contract code may cost users a fortune. As a relatively new phenomenon, decentralized systems require more effort in terms of security, fraud prevention and compliance. – Konstantin Klyagin, Redwerk

11. Take The Technology For A Test Drive

Try the technology out for yourself! Buy a cheap nonfungible token on opensea.io or some Ethereum on coinbase.com. Then, take the contract address or your wallet address and type it into etherscan.io. This will show you all of the transactions relating to that address. That is the exciting part about all of this: Every transaction between everyone is tracked, accounted for and searchable on the blockchain. – Adam Ayers, Number 5